Zuccotti Park: A young girl reads alongside a painting. People gather in twos and threes to talk about politics, the priorities of the day. A group begins to drum. It isn't the kind of drumming you dance to. It's the kind that announces something important, demands that you listen, reminds everyone, near and far -- we are here, we are not going, it is time for a change.
Young, old and middle aged from all walks of life and places around the country have converged on Wall Street to speak their mind, turn the page on greed and corruption, make a mark, be heard. A musician stamps t-shirts. An articulate Vermonter who has come all the way here for the day, stamps dollar bills with "99%," 99-percent being the number of Americans who "have not," at least according to the American ethos, which is like no other -- for, where else in the world, would protestors be bestowed 400-plus boxes of food and supplies daily, and upwards of $300,000 in donations? A middle-aged woman who lost her pension tells her story. Some people have been there a day; others, a month.
Andre, 19, from New Jersey, said he arrived four days ago. He is tired of things being the way they are. What things? "Everything. Greedy people are taking too much away." How long will he stay? "As long as this lasts."
Catherine, a retired airforce officer, now a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, the mother of two teenagers, has a pension, a good retirement fund, but wonders how her children will go to college and how they will be able to afford retirement. She said the movement in the park is "organic. One night, when it was time to close down, I watched how people settled, the tarps lifting and falling, one by one, it was like an undulating wave, a sea of flowing movement. That's how it is here."
Those in Zuccotti Park have a sense of purpose and jobs to do. There is a huge chalkboard with "Work Schedule" written on it. Everyone, even those who have never held a job, takes on tasks, contributes. Some serve food. Others take donations. Some work on laptops. Many stand at the periphery of the park with signs that explain why they are here.
Plenty of food has been donated, and money is pouring in. What will be done with the donations? What next?
At five o'clock, a march begins. Some young women start a chant. I ask an elderly bearded marcher, "where are we going?" He doesn't know.
Does it matter?
Just now, the heart of the movement burns strong, and we march undeterred.
(To see a visual journal of Zuccotti Park, see the "Occupy Wall Street" album under the name, Arya-Francesca Jenkins on Facebook).